Historic TopHouse closes its doors

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Nelson Lakes’ historic TopHouse guest house has closed its doors after a fallout between the owner and the tenant.

In a statement to Nelson Live the tenant of the TopHouse Historic Guesthouse, the former Nelson Lakes Drovers’ Inn with a colourful past, said the doors would close indefinitely from 30 April.

The heritage-listed building and a parcel of surrounding land have been on the market since January and now, with the lease expiring at the end of the month, current tenant Jennifer Sloots says it is no longer possible to continue trading.

“Because it hadn’t sold, and knowing how important the building is to a lot of people around the area, I offered to the owner to continue running the business. His reply to me was, ‘You can stay, but I’ll put the lease up by 50 per cent.’ He thinks that’s a good marketing tool.”

Jennifer, who bought the business as a going concern in 2012 and has seen occupancy rates double in each successive year, is disappointed in the outcome.

“TopHouse has had a mega-summer, thanks to positive reviews and some of the marketing activities I’ve put in place. That will obviously go by the wayside when the property gets closed down.”

She says that closing the business down will disadvantage a prospective buyer.

“I know from experience. It took two and a half years of hard work to build up the business.

“I feel very sad because I do have an attachment to this building. I love the atmosphere of this place,” she says.

“But it will be rendered empty in the first week of May and left to become a shell. And the fire will stop burning here at TopHouse.”